Facebook Announces Its Own App Store

In a move that should surprise no one but make many developers happy, Facebook today announced a marketplace for finding apps called the App Center. "The App Center will become the new, central place to find great apps like Draw Something, Pinterest, Spotify, Battle Pirates, Viddy, and Bubble Witch Saga," writes Facebook engineer Aaron Brady on the company's Developer Blog. The Center will also include a mobile version, which Brady says is designed to increase the number of mobile apps that use the social network.

The new hub, which will open in the next few weeks, will organize apps by user ratings, an important change from the current "like" system which can favor apps with huge marketing budgets. App makers will also get a dashboard for tracking how people are rating their apps.

Paid apps are also on the way. Until now, Facebook apps have been free, and developers who wanted to make money did so through in-app purchases. The new App Center will feature all apps that meet its guidelines, and developers can sign up for the beta test program from the announcement page.

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